Michelle Miller/photo

Throughout my life, I have watched countless movies and television shows depicting grand gatherings of smiling and joyful townspeople, all congregated to watch the annual lighting of the town’s Christmas tree.  While it was neat to watch those moments, I often thought to myself, “That doesn’t really happen.”

I am happy to say publicly, I was wrong. It does happen. It happened this evening and it has happened for the last five years thanks to the vision of a dedicated group of volunteers and their sponsors.

For my family, attending the Gallipolis in Lights lighting ceremony is already a tradition. I’m certain we aren’t alone. Standing in that park, surrounded by the smiling faces of so many community members, hot chocolate in hand, laughing together, catching up, snapping selfies and pictures, the sound of Christmas music coming from the stage, the community trees lining the sidewalks, wagon rides around the park sponsored by Evans Wealth Management, the hum of excitement as the countdown to the lighting begins and add to it the special surprise, a fireworks display sponsored by Holzer Health System, the result was a magical evening cut straight from a Hollywood production.

But it goes much deeper than just the event itself. Downtown was packed. Many of the businesses were open, inviting the public to stop in and take a look. Over the next month, it will attract more people downtown to see the lights and hopefully shop and eat while they are there. Events like Gallipolis in Lights are a boost to the economy and should be recognized for that impact.

Even better, my personal Facebook newsfeed this evening was full of families, friends and smiles, pictures and praises for the volunteers, as opposed to the gloom and doom that can sometimes take hold on social media. Several of the readers shared their photos with the Gallia Herald, which are in the gallery below. At a time when the drug epidemic tends to overshadow everything else, it’s nice to be reminded of the great things going on in our little community. It’s nice to publicize those great things for all to see.

So, on a personal note, I wish to thank those volunteers, who I know will spend the rest of the year monitoring the park and taking care of any issues to ensure the lights stay on, so the rest of us can enjoy them.

Your efforts are appreciated.

If you haven’t been to the Gallipolis City Park yet, make sure you visit. Do it. It’s worth it.

Follow Gallipolis in Lights on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GallipolisInLights/

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